The Real Thing: When a Program Comes Together on the Show Floor

After months and weeks of preparation, it came down to this for the HMS Employer crew: showtime at the ASHHRA show at the Gaylord.

It was a wondrous thing to see the three elements of the show come together and watch this experienced team engage clients and work toward their closing goals. As a reminder the three elements we set out to merge for this staff:

  • The logistics of the show (booth details, show hours, position in the hall).
  • Marketing messages.
  • Sales goals and targets (who to connect with, processes, goals, expected outcomes)

If you add to the logistical aspects of this program the elements of “engagement” (how, with what and who), these folks had no problem whatsoever approaching and reaching out to people.  In fact, they told me in our pre-show meeting and standup meeting that they probably recognized either the name or organization of just about everyone they encountered in the aisle! This made lead gathering that much easier.

Having the marketing messages spelled out and linked to the sales approach ensured that a visitor was clear on the whole of what HMS does.  It also, as one staffer suggested, was an area where each staffer needed to choose their words carefully whenever speaking to a prospect–since the offering the whole company is so braod, there are parts of the company that could be at odds (payers) with these prospects.  Know your audience.

As for sales goals: they knew how many they wanted to engage, who they wanted to engage.  Standing in the middle of the aisle, they made eye contact, spoke directly to passersby and offered up snacks, the book club promo or some other entry or goody.  The sales lead had done his job by attaching a dollar amount for prospective business to the show.  We did the math: if they closed just 10% of their A leads (52 “A’s”  of 137 total–that’s is 6 hours of show hours, BTW) at their average sale, they would exceed their dollar goal for the show.  And that was in closings, not just prospective bookings.

Now comes the interesting part: continuing the follow up.  While the company uses Marketo and Salesforce to track and log their leads, this team took the extra step of actually handling the actual business cards of the leads (old school wins over again over technology!).  At their weekly sales meeting each “hot” (A) lead will be discussed and progress discussed.

Not a bad way to see a return on their investment in the show.


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